A Tennessee congressman running for re-election on a pro-life platform urged his pregnant mistress to get an abortion a decade ago.
According to a transcript of their conversation that he recorded, Republican representative Dr Scott DesJarlais tells the unidentified woman that he is concerned that she hadn't taken steps toward terminating the pregnancy.
'You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one,' Dr DesJarlais is quoted as saying. 'If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let's do it.'
On his website, Dr DesJarlais claims that he opposes abortion, saying: 'All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.'
The DesJarlais campaign have not disputed the contents of the transcript, first reported by the Huffington Post, but condemned the circulation of 'desperate personal attacks.'
'This is old news from the last election cycle that Tennesseans have already widely rejected,' spokesman Robert Jameson said in an email.
'Since the congressman's opponents cannot attack him on his independent, conservative and pro-life record in Congress they have once again resorted to pure character assassination,' he said.
Dr DesJarlais, who has a surgery in Jasper, a suburb of Chattanooga, defeated Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis in 2010.
Davis said his campaign was aware of the transcript during that race, but he wasn't able to confirm its authenticity until a recent conversation with Dr DesJarlais' ex-wife Susan. Their divorce was finalized in 2001.